Late-night on Main Street just got a whole lot sweeter!
New Paltz’s beloved midnight cookie delivery service, Professor Cookie, will soon expand into a physical store. The business is set to open within the month of February — official date pending — at 56 Main St. It will replace the former gluten-free bakery, The Sweet Bunny.
Owner Ilya, who wishes to be referenced by first name only, hopes the store can change the game for New Paltz’s night-scene cuisine.
“I figured, there’s a lot of pizza places,” Ilya said. “There’s nothing else [late at night] really besides Convenient Deli, so I wanted to add something to the mix.”
It’s true that with most eateries on Main Street closing around 9 or 10 p.m., especially those that offer anything in terms of dessert, night owls with a sweet tooth are left with few options. Hopefully, Professor Cookie’s new location can bring in business and popularity like its online business has done for almost two years.
Professor Cookie began in August 2018 as a late-night cookie delivery service and has since amassed over 1,000 followers on Instagram. According to Ilya, that number seems to double every semester.
Ilya is a SUNY New Paltz alum who graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. After graduation, he lived in New York City for a year, and then spent a few months traveling the globe before returning to New Paltz.
Although the business has quickly become a favorite in town, customers may be surprised to learn it almost didn’t exist.
The bakery business wasn’t Ilya’s original idea or forte.
As a student, Ilya had been interested in opening up a halal cart on campus. However, upon returning and getting inspired from companies such as Insomnia Cookies and Hot Box Cookies, Ilya decided to start Professor Cookie.
Before opening his business, Ilya was not well-versed in the art of baking cookies.
“[At first] a lot of cookies came out like pancakes,” he explained. “There was a lot of trial and error, consulting with people and getting that to happen.”
Through a series of experimenting with different recipes, Ilya eventually crafted his own menu consisting of four different flavors: chocolate chip, sugar, Reese’s and m&m.
Currently, the business operates solely out of Ilya’s apartment kitchen. He has to share one fridge with all of his roommates, so storing more than four flavors at a time isn’t possible.
Now that Professor Cookie will have its own store, Ilya can expand his menu. In the future, he hopes to introduce a mochi, green tea cookie as well as seasonal flavors.
But for right now, Ilya is just focused on setting up the store for opening. In the midst of repainting the store from The Sweet Bunny’s pink, green and yellow layout into a cooler toned purple and gray, Ilya has articulated his hopes for the store to become a space decorated with community art.
“I have all these frames so people can sell their art here,” he stated. He’d also like to create an entire chalkboard wall for guests to draw on. “So every time you go, you see your little doodle in the corner that no one erased yet.”
SUNY New Paltz students have expressed their excitement for the store’s opening.
“It’d be a cute addition to the town, definitely a nice place to bring the community together in a new way,” said second year math education and math major, Pooneh Kardgar.
“I think it’s cool. I’ve seen him work really hard to develop his business since I was there from the beginning,” said fourth year sociology major and Professor Cookie delivery driver, Natasha Chapparro. “It’s grown into this huge thing, I think it’s good to have something like this that’s small and local.”
The business’ official hours are still pending. Ilya intends to adapt to the local bar scene by staying open until 3 a.m., possibly to 4 a.m, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. On other nights, the business will most likely be open until 1 or 2 a.m.
For those of you who prefer your late-night treats brought directly to the door, The Professor Cookie team will still deliver to campus, residential homes and even right outside the bars for the foreseeable future. Delivery hours are 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday through Tuesday.